a reaction against James's government such as Burnet attributes to the horror excited (iii. 68–9). The power of James at home and abroad had reached its climax.
II. From the second meeting of the first parliament (November 1685) to the acquittal of the seven bishops, 30 June 1688.
By keeping up the military force raised against Monmouth, and thereby increasing the standing army more than threefold, as well as by granting commissions in the newly raised regiments to Roman catholics, in defiance of the Test Act (Lives of the Norths, ii. 150), James entered upon an aggressive policy. In the speech with which he opened parliament (Life, ii. 48–50) he confidently demanded sufficient supplies for his augmented army, and announced that he should maintain his illegal appointments. The commons sent Coke to the Tower for language disrespectful to the king, but when the lords showed a spirit of opposition, he prorogued parliament forthwith (19 Nov.). The king's displeasure with several members was so marked that even a courtier like Reresby (p. 349) perceived a crisis to have arrived ‘for every thinking man.’ The Scottish parliament, which met April 1686 and showed itself unwilling to meet the king's wishes as to his catholic subjects, was likewise prorogued.
The dismissal of Halifax from office and from the privy council (21 Oct. 1685) secured the ascendency of Sunderland. A catholic cabal, of which Sunderland, Father Petre, Henry Jermyn (Dover), and Richard Talbot (Tyrconnel) (Life, ii. 77) were the principal members, was set on foot for the management of catholic affairs, which soon came to involve affairs at large. James now dropped his caution, and took a line too decided for many of the English catholics and for Pope Innocent XI. The jesuits, with few exceptions, supported, like their patron Louis XIV, an active policy (Clarendon Correspondence, ii. App. 507–8). James's confessor, the capuchin Mansuete, resigned (Ellis Correspondence, i. 47), and was succeeded by the jesuit Warner, a nominee of Father Petre (Lingard, x. 127; cf. Reresby, p. 363; Ellis Correspondence, i. 35). At the beginning of 1686 James appears to have been above all desirous to prevent public discussion of his religious policy (ib. i. 23).
The queen and the catholics at large were offended by the ennoblement as Countess of Dorchester (January) of their antagonist Catharine Sedley (Evelyn, iii. 15; cf. Ellis Correspondence, i. 23); but the king was ultimately brought to regard this connection as unfavourable to his designs. She left for Ireland and returned in August (Clarendon Correspondence, i. 544, 552), but did not regain her former ascendency (ib. ii. 279). James henceforward arranged his amours more decently than was usual with contemporary sovereigns. He was much occupied in the ‘modelling’ of his army, and held frequent reviews in the encampment established by him on Hounslow Heath (Ellis Correspondence, i. 60, 125; Reresby, p. 360; Bramston, p. 234; cf. Life, ii. 71). About the same time the administration of the navy was reorganised in accordance with the plans of Pepys (Ellis Correspondence, i. 73). James showed throughout unusual bodily activity and a restless devotion to business (ib. pp. 125, 272; Reresby, p. 362; Bramston, pp. 226–228).
His religious policy first became unmistakable in Ireland, where Clarendon was early in 1687 superseded by Tyrconnel. In Scotland the royal letter recommending the removal of religious tests made a subservient parliament unmanageable, and was followed by the arbitrary admission of catholics to offices and honours (cf. Balcarres, p. 3). Early in 1686 James published the late king's papers, and naïvely pressed the primate to indite a ‘gentlemanlike and solid’ reply (Life, ii. 9). He sent Lord Castlemaine to Rome (February) as ambassador, with no definite mission except that of obtaining a red hat for Father Petre, and began the proceedings which aimed at the removal of catholic disabilities by means of the dispensing power. Changes on the bench insured a favourable judicial decision on the subject (June); and, according to Burnet (iii. 103), steps had been taken beforehand to insure nonconformist support even in the west. In July four catholics were admitted into the privy council (Reresby, p. 364). In May leave had been given to a catholic convert to retain his London benefice; another, Obadiah Walker, continued to hold the mastership of University College, Oxford; and a third catholic, John Massey, was actually named dean of Christ Church. In July the court of high commission was revived, and suspended the Bishop of London [see Compton, Henry]. Disturbances ensued in London and in other towns. The clergy of the established church were now awake, and a very lively ‘controversial war’ (Burnet, iii. 305) began. The king's scheme was at last openly carried out, catholics being placed on the commissions of the peace, and freely introduced as officers into the army (Bramston, p. 251). On Christmas day 1686 the new chapel at Whitehall, dedicated by the king, was opened (ib. p. 253) and put into the hands of Father Petre; many other catholic chapels were